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UN envoy cautious about blaming Syria for arming Hezbollah

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 (KUNA) -- Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Representative concerning the implementation of resolution 1559, on Thursday refused to blame Syria or Iran for providing sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, as did US Ambassador Susan Rice earlier in the day, but said these weapons "are not coming from the moon." "I do not find it helpful for the situation in Lebanon today. What we should try to do is not to inflame the situation, but to de-escalate the situation, (but) these weapons are not coming from the moon," Roed-Larsen told reporters following a briefing to the Security Council on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on resolution 1559.
He admitted that the UN has no independent means to look into the issue. "But we have taken note that there is a consistency between allegations we are hearing and statements from Hezbollah itself concerning their capabilities." He warned that the Middle East is at an "extremely critical juncture" and compared the region to a tent in the middle of a hurricane.
"That tent is critically upheld by two poles: the Palestinian one, the other is the Lebanese. If one of those two poles cracked, the whole tent will go down. If the Lebanese situation is destabilized, I am afraid that we have a rippling effect across the region. I do believe this is the most critical issue of international peace and security today. When I say today, I mean today," he said.
On his part, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Ja'afari told reporters that Ambassador Rice's statement earlier today implicating Syria in Lebanese affairs is in "full contradiction with a lot of facts related to the positive developments within Lebanon and the whole area." He said Rice gave "credibility to wrong facts related by those who prepare Ban's report," in an indirect reference to Roed-Larsen, saying these did not even listen to high Lebanese officials who stated repeatedly that there is no smuggling of arms across the Lebanese-Syrian border.
"Those who prepare the report are de-credibilizing the Lebanese Government, " he said.
He recalled that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper recently that all the allegations about Syria were lies, meant to harm the Lebanese-Syrian relations.
He said "sometimes we don't see logic in the US position. We find in it a meaningless escalation." Asked if the US escalation is linked to the recent rhetoric in Lebanon about the Hariri Tribunal, he said ask the Americans. (end) sj.sd KUNA 290053 Oct 10NNNN